As winter fades away and occasional warm weather tantalizes us out of hibernation, a classic Colorado conundrum begins to form: should I ski or prepare for mountain bike season? I want to be in shape for biking, but there is still powder potential in the mountains. It is not a bad dilemma to have and I am lucky to have such difficult decisions to make. At this point, the desire to bike is taking the lead.

So what mountain biking gear is necessary for the endless trails in Colorado? Here’s my take.

What kind of bike should you have?

Enduro bikes are for those who love the descent but enjoy the climb as well. Enduros can compete with the best of bikes (and I would argue that they are the best), but many say they are not the most efficient on the uphill. If it’s climbing you enjoy best, get a lower travel cross country bike. For those who don’t like to pedal at all, try a downhill bike.

Pulling into a parking lot full of $6,000 bikes can be intimidating. Everyone in Colorado seems to have the latest and greatest technology, and their bikes often look like they weigh less than their helmets, but my advice is to just go ride no matter what kind of bike you have. Self-proclaimed gear experts will tell you that you need this and you need that, or it will be difficult with your type of bike on this particular terrain, but ride what you have and get good on it. If old, heavy technology is all you can afford, then pedaling it will only make you better when you upgrade. Colorado has a lot to offer, so go enjoy it.

Other Necessary Mountain Biking Gear

Pads can provide confidence for beginners and experts alike, and I would recommend them for any trail that has substantial downhill sections. If the trail has long climbs, I often don’t wear pads or keep them in my pack as they can get very hot. I prefer Enduro style knee and elbow pads such as the IXS Flow or Sweet Protection products.

Always wear a helmet. Investing in new concussion prevention technology, such as a helmet with MIPS, is worth it.

Some people don’t realize that shoes can make a big difference. Grip and stiffness are keys to pedaling flat pedals efficiently, and a solid clipless setup is just as important. The right shorts, shirt, and padded shorts are also crucial.

Here’s what’s in my pack at all times:

  • Hydration system
  • First aid kit (the essentials and super glue for cuts)
  • Patch kit
  • Spare Tube
  • Multi tool (with chain and spoke tool)
  • Tire levers
  • CO2 inflation kit (with spare cartridges)
  • Zip ties (for anything and everything)
  • Headlamp
  • A beer to reward myself after the climb

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